2024 State Legislative Session Takeaways: Idaho

Written by Matthew Lidz

The Idaho Legislature adjourned the 2024 legislative session on April 10, which was 19 days after the original sine die target of March 22. Conflict within the Republican supermajority contributed to the delay. Excluding resolutions, 636 bills were introduced during the session.

Here’s what you may have missed:


Idaho was among multiple states, including Florida, South Carolina, and Tennessee, that aimed to restrict the in-state use of environmental, social, and governance investing criteria (ESG). The legislature passed, and Governor Brad Little (R) ultimately signed, SB 1291 to ban public entities from entering contracts without a written certification stating the organization does not boycott companies engaged in the fossil fuel or firearm industries. A similar bill was filed last year and had support from legislators but failed due to a lack of exceptions that were present in this year’s iteration.

Another bill, SB 669, which would have banned financial institutions from using social credit scores that examines factors such as the refusal to adopt greenhouse gas emissions targets or any type of racial, diversity, or gender audit, disclosure, or quota, failed in the House after passage in the Senate.

SB 1291 adds to a growing list of ESG bills that passed the Idaho Legislature in recent years. In 2023, the state enacted a bill to prohibit procurement decisions based on ESG standards as well as another bill to prohibit credit unions and banks that hold state funds from boycotting specified industries, including fossil fuels and firearms.

Content Restrictions

Going into 2024, the legislature was expected to pass a bill to make libraries subject to liability for allowing minors to access “obscene materials.” A similar bill passed the legislature during the 2023 session but was vetoed by Governor Little. He noted the proposed $2,500 fine for offending libraries would create a library bounty system and disproportionately affect rural libraries.

The modifications to HB 710, the 2024 session’s version of the bill, led to Governor Little signing the bill on April 10. He cited the reduced fine of $250, ability for libraries to avoid fines if they take corrective action within 60 days, and the measure’s tighter definition of “obscene materials” as reasons for signing.

HB 498, which created age-verification requirements for pornographic websites and established liability for publishers and distributors of material harmful to minors on the internet, was also enacted into law.


The Joint-Finance Appropriations Committee (JFAC) changed the process for setting the budget. In previous sessions, the legislature passed individualized bills for each state department. This year’s budget process split the budget bills into two. The legislature passed “maintenance budgets” that grouped various agencies together and provided minimal funds to continue operations. New spending requests were then included in the second budget bill, called “enhancement budgets.” Objections to the new process caused former Majority Leader Megan Blanksma (R) to vote against the budget. She was the only member of House leadership to do so. She was removed from her status as Majority Leader in February of this year and replaced by Representative Jason Monks (R).

Highlights from this year’s budget include $1.5 billion in new spending over the next decade for school facility upgrades and repairs, $75 million in spending to fully fund Idaho LAUNCH, a workforce development grant program, and a reduction of the individual and corporate income tax from 5.8% to 5.695%.

Looking Ahead

School choice will likely emerge as a contentious issue in 2025. HB 447, a bill creating a tax credit and grant program for private school tuition died in committee this year, but Speaker Mike Moyle (R) expects the bill to return and noted “the school choice issue is not going away.” All of the 105 seats in the Idaho Legislature are up for election this year with primary elections scheduled for May 21.

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